Consumers came for the convenience and the bargain prices of boxed wines. They stayed for the quality. Here are five boxed wines (plus a few extras) worth checking out:
Bota Box California Pinot Grigio: Santa Margarita remains a popular crowd-pleaser in the pinot grigio world. But for about the same price as one bottle of that, consumers can get the equivalent of four bottles of really good juice here. The florals are stellar, the juicy, citrusy/peachy/apple-y fruit tasty and refreshing. From $16.
Provisions Rosé: Many, if not most, boxed rosés pile on the sugar. This domestic wine straddles the line between crisp Provence offerings and jammy West Coast wines. It's the very definition of clean and fresh. Just try not to hum "Strawberry Fields Forever" while quaffing this pink delight. From $20.
La Vieille Ferme Vin Rouge: I've been loving this wine for more than three decades, and it was great to see it go the boxed route a few years back. Produced by the same family that makes the phenomenal Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape, it's a spot-on amalgam of great fruit, herbs and spices. Ideal for Thanksgiving feasts. From $24.
Juan Gil Shania Monastrell: This exemplary rendition of a variety also known as mourvedre boasts big-time blueberry flavors, surprising length and the sturdiness one expects from this grape. The Shania White is also a gem, sumptuous but balanced. And if you like any of these, look for boxes from another Spanish brand, Viña 25. From $18.
House Wine red, white and pink: If there's anybody who does a better job of pleasing both novices and cork dorks than Charles Smith, I'd love to hear about them. This Washington-based winery offers up dandy merlot as well as an array of swell reds and whites, plus one of the better boxed rosés out there. From $18.50.
Bill Ward writes at decant-this.com. Follow him on Twitter: @billward4.